Acts Series #30
Back to the Beginning: When Church was Church
Just About Midnight
I don't know where you are today but if you feel like you are under the jail, in the dark of the night, well … you are not alone …
I believe there is something powerful today for someone.
Someone is here today and you feel like you are in the dark of the night in the midst of prison, with seemingly no way out … I want to tell you to look up …
You might not be able to see your hand in front of your face, but look up
READ Acts 16:16-40
Darkness … whatever the Darkness you might be experiencing today, feeling like its just about Midnight, perhaps things seem fine today, but I promise you … darkness WILL come …
Well … if it's "Just About Midnight" … we need to know some powerful truths today …
1. How did we get into this Darkness?
A. Natural State
Col 1:13 says that we are in the DOMINION of darkness
1. Is 59:10 like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead
2. Ps 82:4,5 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked 5 they know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness …
3. John 1:5 light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it
1. John 3:19,20 - this is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed
2. Pr 2:13 … leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways
1. Paul and Silas were not in, the INNER MOST cell, shackled to the floor, in the dark middle of the night, because of the natural state of sin, NOR were then in dark days because of disobedience and sin … They were in these dire circumstances and the dark night, and in jail because of OBEDIENCE, because of FAITHFULNESS, because they boldly PROCLAIMED the Word,
2. Paul gives the "highlights" of his ministry of obedience in 2 Cor 11:23+ I have … been in prison … flogged … exposed to death again and again … 5 times received 40 lashes minus one … three times … beaten with rods … once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked … spent a night and a day in the open sea … constantly on the move, danger from rivers … bandits … countryman … Gentiles … in the city … in the country … at sea … from false brothers … gone without sleep … known hunger and thirst … cold and naked … besides everything else, I face daily pressure of my concern for all the churches …
3. Some of the darkest times in my life were the result of obedience
4. Did you ever think that obedience to God would get you in trouble? Sometimes it will get your lights put OUT!
5. Could it be that your obedience made for you an appointment with a dark place; A divine appointment? … Paul and Silas COULD have gotten out of this imprisonment because of they Roman citizenship but they recognized God's appointment and went to prison,
6. The good news about darkness … whether a result of your natural state as one who has never come to Christ, or a result of your direct disobedience, or even as a result of your obedience …
The darkest places NEED God's Light
The darkest places SHOW God's Light the brightest
But how we got there is not near as important to us once we are there as …
2. What do we Do when "it's just about Midnight?
A. Pray -
1. for Salvation / Forgiveness - "whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" … "if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in you heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" "if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness"
2. for Deliverance
3. God's Promises
Ps 42:8 by day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me … 11 why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
1. for Who he is - PS 119:55 - in the night I remember your name, O Lord; 62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws
Ps 50:15 - call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you, and you will honor me ---
You see … God will deliver you for HIS sake, for his name,
2. for What he has done
Ps 77:6-12 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired: 7 will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? … 9 has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? 10 Then I thought, 'to this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High" 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds
3. for What he can do
he is shaping you into his image
1. the World is Watching
1 cor 4:8+ it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10 we are fools for Christ … we are weak … we are dishonored … we go hungry and thirsty, in rags, brutally treated, homeless, we work hard …we work hard withour hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it: 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. 14 I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you … 16 therefore I urge you to imitate me
2. Put your Faith on Display
1 Peter 1:6-8 - in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 these have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 though you have not seen him, you love him; and eve though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy
According to Rom 9:17 … If God has raised you up he has done it to put his display HIS Power and proclaim HIS name
God puts YOU on display that HE might be on display
3. Put Christ on Display
When Jesus healed a blind man … the disciples asked "who sinned to make this man blind? He or his parents? And Jesus said … "neither … this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life …"
D. Be Persistent
Keep ON praying, praising, presenting … it might not be midnight YET …
It may seem that God is no where to be found, but the work that Jesus does is transform your circumstance into something that will glorify himself
Is 61:3 says he will "… bestow … a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."
3. What Happens After Midnight?
Paul and Silas Prayed, Sang his Praises, Put their faith on display … and when we put our faith on display … Our FAITH becomes the Stage for Christ, the Star of the Show to take the Stage and the Holy Spirit is the Spotlight that draws attention to himself …
Jesus said when he takes center stage and the Holy Spirit throws the Spotlight on him and he is lifted up … he will draw people to himself
Just About Midnight GOD got everyone's attention with an Earthquake and Jesus took center stage
When God shakes the place and your prison doors are open and your shackles fall off … and it isn't just a great thing for you … it affects those around you … God puts himself on display to draw the world to himself and …
A. People Wake Up
1. the jailer woke up …v27
2. when you allow God to be on display people will begin to take notice
3. perhaps you are here today because you noticed God moving in someone else's life
B. Call for the Light - v29 the Jailer called for lights
1. Jesus said … that HE was the light of the world … but he also said that YOU, I, WE are the Light of the World … He says "like a City on a Hill we can't and shouldn't be hidden" … we are meant to point people to Christ …
2. The Jailer called for more than just physical light but for the light to eternity
"What must I do to be Saved"?
3. The Jailer, though in danger of losing his life and his job if any escaped was NOT asking how to save his job or his life. He recognized that Paul knew the answer to the point of life … Salvation, a Relationship of right standing before God
4. Paul didn't tell him to memorize scripture, or be circumcised, or join the local church, or stop his bad habits … the answer to salvation is NOT complicated … "believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved"
… NOT might but will be …
5. Stop believing in the emperor as God, stop following the family way, stop believing that YOU can make it on your own path or your own goodness … there is NO other way but Jesus
Is 45:22 - Turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth
Turn away from your way
Turn away from the darkness
Turn away from everything else and
turn to God
C. Prison Doors Open
1. Not only will your prison doors open after midnight but you will begin to hear the clanging of doors flying open all around you as those around you come to know and walk in the freedom from the imprisonment of sin …
John 4:40,47 - My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day … 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has eternal life
What must I do? You see we are asking the wrong question … ultimately you can't DO anything … Prayer didn't open that cell door; Praise didn't open that cell … Prayer and Praise simply helped Paul and Silas LIVE in the FAITH that God would be their deliverer.
You can't open the door, you can simply have FAITH that God already has!
You see you are in the darkness and you may not realize it but your cell door is NOT locked … you do NOT have to stay there
God has granted you a pardon through the work of Jesus Christ …
There was an earthquake about 3 pm that Friday afternoon when Christ was Crucified and your cell door is open the shackles are unlocked, COME OUT …. Don't stay imprisoned, don't stay locked up
YOU … AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD … this is NOT just an offer to you … this is NOT just an offer to the elite … this is an offer to ALL who will have the same faith, to all who will follow your example … You and your whole House, you and your whole office, you and your whole neighborhood
See the light
Turn to Christ …
Walk out …
D. A New Day Dawns ---
1. your clock might be messed up though, it might not be midnight yet, but the day is coming, midnight is coming and after midnight a new day.
2. Will you wake up to the new day under the light of God's revelation or in the darkness of your own way?
As you read scripture GREAT things happen at about Midnight
God Reveals his direction
God Makes provision
Jesus comes for his own
This is God's Pattern
Midnight is NOT the middle of the NIGHT … it is just the DARK Beginning of a BRAND NEW DAY …
I am convinced that the Lord wants to do something significant in lives here today …
I want you to allow me today to lead you through an exercise in freedom. Let me lead you into a New Day in Christ today.
Every head bowed and every eye closed
Repentance begins in the house of God …
Let's position ourselves for God to show himself …
If you are here today and you are a Christian … but you find yourself in shackles of doubt, fear, frustration, disobedience, failure to trust …
Confess it right now … You may need to kneel where you are, or come to the altar … ask someone to come with you
Pray for God's Deliverance
Pray for God's Move in your life
Pray for God to put himself on display in your life
Now I want you to praise him …
Offer Thanks to him right now
WORSHIP - "GIVE THANKS"
Praise him for who he is
WORSHIP - "I stand Amazed …"
Praise him for What he is doing or about to do in your life
WORSHIP - "Come … Now is the Time to Worship …"
Now Christ has moved …
I believe there are some people here today that need to take the step of the Jailer and respond in faith and
Believe in Jesus Christ …
Look to Christ and be saved …
Turn from your way and turn to him
"COME NOW IS THE TIME TO WORSHIP …"